Here are 10 actors that nearly died on set. From comas and deadly infections to the actor that played Jesus being hit by lightning, we count 10 famous movie scenes that nearly killed the actor.
12. Isla Fisher
Now You See Me has heaps of stunts and spectacular visual effects, but for Isla Fisher there was one scene where her life was in danger. The 2013 film has her character drop into a water tank. She is supposed to escape – while handcuffed – just before her oxygen runs out. In the film, part of the trick is that the character’s chain gets caught and the audience thinks she will die. In real life, Fisher got stuck and spent almost three minutes trying to get out. None of the crew thought she was in any danger, they all thought she was putting in an amazing performance.
11. Matthew Fox
In the final episode of Lost, there is a fight scene between co-stars Matthew Fox and Terry O’Quinn. Fox’s character is supposed to be stabbed with a knife, so the set had two knives present, one with a blade that collapses when you stab someone with it, and a fixed-blade knife, which has a rigid blade. There was a lot of on-set confusion and it was unclear what armour and padding Fox should be wearing in which scenes, and which knife was to be used in which scenes. O’Quinn stabbed Fox with the fixed-blade knife, but luckily he was wearing a Kevlar vest. Instead of a serious injury, he was left with severe bruising.
10. Donald Sutherland
In 1968 Donald Sutherland was filming Kelly’s Heroes and had to swim in the Danube River. He contracted meningitis from the river and eventually ended up in a coma and was medically dead for a brief period of time. He describes a bright white light pulling him upwards, but he resisted. After he woke from his coma, it took him over six weeks to recover.
9. Michael J Fox
Fox was almost suffocated while filming Back to the Future 3. His character is hanged from a noose and at first, Fox had a box he could stand on so he wouldn’t suffocate, as his whole body wouldn’t be shown in the shot anyway. But the director apparently didn’t like how that looked, so they started to film the scene without the box. Fox would then have to put his hand between the noose and his neck at a certain point, to make sure he didn’t die. But as there were so many takes, Fox ended up misjudging when to put his hand up and missed a queue, and ended up hanging from the rope and passed out for at least thirty seconds before anyone noticed.
8. Halle Berry
Halle Berry has a long list of injuries sustained while on set. She’s damaged her eye from a smoke grenade, broke her arm in Gothika, was admitted to hospital after hitting her head on a lighting fixture while filming Catwoman, and even broke her foot on the set of Cloud Atlas then re-injured it several weeks after recovery.
While this is an impressive list of injuries, her most serious near death moment occurred on the set of the James Bond movie, Die Another Day.
In the movie, her character Jynx is tasked with seducing 007. During the steamy encounter, Berry had to seductively eat a fig. However, as she stared into Pierce Brosnan’s dreamy secret agent eyes, she started choking on the fruit.
Brosnan recalled the rather strange moment in an interview with Esquire saying that he remembers her suddenly going silent and waving her arms about. She was coughing and splattering. As they were both mostly naked he amusingly added that he ‘was certainly in no position to give the Heimlich to Halle at that moment’.
Luckily the fig eventually became dislodged and the scene could continue, somewhat less erotically.
7. Sylvester Stallone
While filming Rocky IV, Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren where pretending to punch each other while filming. However, Stallone thought it would look better if the punches were real. And so naturally, the punches were pretty intense. Stallone insisted that Lundgren not hold anything back and so, Lundgren didn’t. He punched Stallone so hard that his heart swelled and he had to be hospitalised for eight days.
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